The Obama administration's top environmental official lauded the Environmental Protection Agency's embattled Clean Power Plan as "strong" and "powerful."
Speaking at the Vermont Law School commencement, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy urged graduates to read her agency's brief on the Clean Power Plan, which regulates carbon emissions from new and existing power plants.
"It will restore your faith in government," she said. "It is strong, it is powerful, we will win all the way up through the Supreme Court."
The Supreme Court has blocked implementation of the Clean Power Plan while it is being challenged by a coalition of 27 states. Lawmakers and industry groups argue that the plan places an undue burden on utilities and that the EPA is overstepping its legal authority. Congress has refused to approve the provisions, prompting the administration to go sidestep the legislative branch.
"In the United States, when you do important work, people will sue you. That's the way it works," McCarthy quipped.
McCarthy also imparted some advice to the prospective lawyers. If they get into environmental law, she told them, "You're going to do one of two things: You are either going to do exactly what I say or you're going to tell me how I can get done what I want to do. Either one's fine with me."
"Just don't be the boring type of lawyer that tells me everything I can't do because then I turn into Charlie Brown, and it's 'wah wah wah,'" McCarthy said, mimicking the indecipherable sound of adults when they speak in a "Peanuts" cartoon.
"Ok? So It's going to be great," McCarthy said. "We'll have great fun together."